Sam Letton, 25, of Fairhaven is raising funds to install a ramp at her family home after becoming wheelchair-bound in November of last year. After receiving her annual flu shot, Letton said she was faced with a devastating side effect.

A Devastating Surprise on Sam’s 25th Birthday

In October of 2021, she received her annual flu shot, and within the next few weeks, she said she started experiencing numbness and tingling throughout her arms and legs. On Nov. 20, her 25th birthday, Letton was diagnosed with a neurological autoimmune disease called Guillain Barré Syndrome.

“My mom has lupus, and the hospital said I was at risk for an autoimmune disease,” Letton said. “Essentially, with this syndrome, my nerves feel like they are on fire until they eventually die.”

Data on the connection between the syndrome and the flu vaccine varies from season to season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"If there is an increased risk of GBS following flu vaccination it is small, on the order of one to two additional GBS cases per million doses of flu vaccine administered," the CDC said on its website.

Road to Recovery

While there is a chance for recovery, it’s a slow process.

“It could take upwards of a year, but I’m thinking it will take longer,” Letton said. “It’s been almost seven months and I still have a lot of work to do. I just started to get a little movement in my legs, but I can’t bear any weight on them because I can’t feel them.”

WFHN-FM/FUN 107 logo
Get our free mobile app

The road to recovery has been long and tiring. Letton cannot walk or wiggle her toes, requiring extensive therapy sessions with speech, physical and occupational therapists twice a week.

A Ramp Could Change Everything

Letton is supposed to visit a pain management doctor and neurologist, but she can’t leave her home now that she is wheelchair-bound.

“There are 15 stairs into the house, from the front and back,” said Letton. Without the ability to leave her home, Letton is desperate for a ramp.

Her father has been actively searching for a contractor with no luck.

“No one seems to be willing to come by and give us an estimate,” Letton said.

How to Help

Letton and her family are working hard to raise funds to purchase their own ramp, allowing Sam to have a second shot at life and finish her journey to recovery.

If you are a contractor or know of one who could help the Letton family, visit their funding site to help their efforts.

Massachusetts State Police Make Quincy Girls' Dream Come True

Quincy's Isabelle Rose Finnemore received the surprise of a lifetime from Troopers Steven Valair and Phil Giardino. This nine-year-old girl is battling a difficult cancer diagnosis and fighting each and every day.

See Inside Some of the SouthCoast's Most Affordable Waterfront Homes

We may all live on the SouthCoast, but we don't all actually live along the water. Waterfront property can be hard to come by around here and often has a hefty price tag. Yet we managed to find some surprisingly affordable homes along the water that are on the market right now. Check them out below.

More From WFHN-FM/FUN 107